Interview & Photos: John Wittlingler/City Under Siege

Interview & Photos by Karina Gaytan

Where did your band name come from?

It actually came from when I was in high school. I was writing a bunch of poems for a poetry competition, and one of the lines in it said like the city’s under siege and I don’t even remember the rest of the poem, but I think that was the name of the poem, and my friend was like dude we should name a band that someday. I was like oh yeah that would be a good band name. And years later when I started this band, I remembered it and was like oh yeaaah because we could not come up with a band name, and I was like we should just call it this, I remembered that it would sound cool and we just named the band after that, I feel it’s like a random pull from my high school.


How did you guys meet?

Well I met Cam from playing with his old bands in Buffalo, and when my former drummer quit, I gave him a call, and he joined right away! As far as Vince goes it’s funny because he grew up in Buffalo playing in bands and I didn’t even know him. But when I moved to Dallas we had a tour coming up around Christmas, and my old bass player couldn’t do it, so he gave me Vince’s number and said he was a good bass player. So I gave him a call, and Vince said yes! I sent him all the songs, and he learned them in like three days. He then flew into Dallas the night before the tour, and I picked him up from the airport, we became great friends right away, and he officially joined the band that tour.


What is your writing process like?

So a lot of times I’ll just write like…. a lot of times, Matt my guitar player will come up with like guitar riff or something like that, and I’ll go straight to the studio. We write most of our stuff in the studio, which is kind of different. So he’ll come up with the guitar riff and then I’ll go to the studio and just write lyrics to it and record on top of it. And if it’s not that way then sometimes I’ll write at home or all at once like I’ll start writing on acoustic guitar, and it will just flow out of me like some of our songs, such as Detail and Love Like That. I just wrote them in like five minutes, it was super quick like just sitting on the couch at home and then sometimes there are some songs I go in the studio and just work on it for hours and hours and hours, so we come up with the chorus first and then work out the rest. Shake and Believe were that way, where I went to the studio, Matt wrote guitar parts, and I just sang over it and wrote the lyrics to it.

So you’re heading now on tour doing with Mark Rose and Ryan Dunson. How do you feel about that?

I’m excited. It’s fun. I’ve known those guys forever. I used to be in rookie of the year, which is Ryan Dunson’s band. So he’s an old homie like we’ve been in bands together since I was 19 or 20. So I’ve known those guys forever. Mark Rose is a great guy. I played a lot of shows with him. I’ve never toured with him but I’ve opened up for him a few times here in Dallas and up by Chicago and what not; so it’ll be really fun to get to see those guys and hang out with them every day for a couple of weeks, and they’ll all be riding in my van. So we’ll get really close.


How did you get into/start playing music?

From a very early age, my dad had me take piano lessons, and I didn’t really like them very much. I quit piano like when I was a freshman or sophomore in high school right around that time I went to my very first show and bought a guitar and thought myself how to play guitar. And I started my first band when I was like a senior in high school.


Are there any artists you’d like to work with someday?

Yeah I mean I would love to write with Jay from The Dangerous Summer, I love that guy. I’d also love to write songs with Matt Thiessen from Relient K. I would love to work with Aaron Sprinkle, he’s done like all the Acceptance records and Anberlin’s records, I really love those guys. So I would love to sit down and write with them. I’ve been very fortunate in our little career to write with Matt Malpass, he just worked on the new Blink-182 record, and I wrote with Mark who’s done Weezer, I’ve already got to work with two of my favorite producers and stuff so I would love to write with those guys, it would be fun.


Do you have any other hobbies besides music?

I golf sometimes that’s fun. I run a venue here in Dallas, so I’m at the club a lot running shows. My life is really all music, unfortunately, and fortunately, I love it. But at the same time, it’s like I don’t have a lot of time to do much of anything else. But you know I like to get out and golf sometimes and then I’ll go play basketball a little bit. I played basketball through high school, so I still play that once in a while. I like sports mainly, so I do a lot of fancy football and that kind of stuff.


Is there anything your band is working on right now?

So we just finished a six song E.P., and it will be coming out at the beginning of August right before this upcoming tour. So we are really going to be doing a big push for that. We have a new single called Freaking Out that’s coming out, and we’re going to be playing that tonight, and then we’re going to have a music video come out for it and then the whole rest of the E.P will come out, so stay tuned!


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